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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  December 12, 2011 1:00am-2:00am PST

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this sunday, about last night in iowa. >> the only reason we didn't get a career politician is he lost to ted kennedy in 1994. >> i'm not a bomb thrower, rherically or literally. >> the replicans square off just 23 days befo the caucus. candidate ron paul joins me to discuss the latest gop front-runner newt gingrich. bu his own prospect in the state where he's now polling in the top tier. could paul be the upset winner? then, what'sriving this presidential election? the payroll tax debate grips washington, but, president obama argues inco equality is the larger issue. >> this is the defining issue of our time. this is a make or break moment for the middle class. >> a debate this morning.
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with us, the majority leader of the senate senator chris bourbon, democrat of illinois. and senator lindsey graha republican of south carolina. finally, our political roundtable, on what's changed in the gop race for the white house this week, and what distinguishes romney from gingrich. with us, specia correspondent ted koel, republican strategist, alex castellanos. nbc's senior investigative correspondent lisa myers. and nbc' chief white house correspondent chuck todd. also joining the conversation this morning, iowa's republan governor, terry branstad. good morning. what a difference a month makes. newgingch is now the undisputed fronrunner in the republican race, he's atop the polls in iowa and new hampshire, and look at this, this morning we have new results from our
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nbc/maris poll, sth carolina and florida, it is gingrich going away in both of those states. as the front-runnr, gingrich bore the brunt of the attacks in last night's republican debate in iowa and here with us live this morning, dr. ron paul, the texas congressman and ndidate for present, of course. dr. paul, welcome back to the program. >> thank you, david. good to be with you. >> did newt gingrich do anything to diminish his chances in iowa last night? >> well, i don't know whether he did it. but i thinkecause he had to face a lot of serious questions about, you know, his change in positions, and what he has to defend, i would think that he shouldn't have gained from tha but that remains to be seen. i guess somebody's going to do a poll rather quickly. but, you knw, we've had people, you kno leading the ck off and on this whole past year, so it will be interesting to see just what happens. in the next week or two. >> the question of who is the consistent conservative. the issue of him receiving payments from freddie mac, the mortgage giant.
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this was the subject of were you took him on last night, and his response. watch. >> he's been on different positions, you know, on some of the issues. single payer. he's taken some positions that are not conservative. he sported the t.a.r.p. fund. and the other thing, really, which really annoyed a lot of people, he received a lot of money from freddie mac. in a way, newt, i think you obably got some of our taxpayers money. they got money and they're still getting bailed out. you're a spokesman for them, and you received money for it. >> i was never a spokesman for any agency. i never did any lobbyin for the agency. i offered strategic advice. i was in the private sector. and i was doing things in the private sector. >> congressm paul, this week you said that gingrich should apologize for taking that money. are you satisfied with how he anwered that last night? >> no, not really. but what can you do in politics. that's the besthe could do with it. but the crowd dn't wcome his answer very well.
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because, viously, it is seen being playing a role of influce. and a lot of money -- what was it, $1.6 million that he received. this is the epitome of the bailouts and the problems. knowing me a little bit more because it was a subject i had worked on for so long, having been on the financial services committee. and deals so much in the formation of bubbles and why we have distortions and why we have recessi recessns. so this was rather annoying. then we also, you know, tried to make the point, well, it's the federal reserve that causes the business cycle. which is coect. but i'll tell you what, when you make the credit, someby has to distribute it and somebody has to benefit. and it was fannie mae and freddie mac d they're ststl in business of receiving taxpayers money. it's a deeply flawed system. you can't expect a housing bubble and a correction from that to resolve itself, and until we look at this in a more serious manner. >> let's pin you down on this. you were very direct about this this week. should he give the money back? should he apologize for
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receiving the money from freddie mac? >> well, legally, he doesn't have to. but i wod think morally, him having received this money, yeah, i wouldn't -- i wouldn't have taken their money. you know, just for the fact at i think it was an immoral thing to take money. besides i don't like this idea that you're going to influence somebody that is a pseudo governme agency. and this is my argument over the many years that because they got subsidies and they had a line of credit, and they were guaraeed a bailout it was written all over that this would come about, because it was artificial, there was a line of credit, and the fed was involved, so it was, as far as i'm concerned, abouts aclose to the government as you can ge to call that private is not exactly accurate. >> les come back to the key point in the debate last night. who is the conste conservative? the issue came up about health care, and support for an individual mandate in massausetts, by governor romney. whether he supported it
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nationally, as is the case in the president' health care legislation. something that gingrich supported, as well, in the early '90s. it was michele bachmann who tk them on as whether they're real conservatives, coining a phrase, newt/romney. listen. >> you want a difference, michele bachmann is the proven conservative. it's not newt romney. >> i know newt gingrich, and newt gingrich is a friend of mine. but he and i areot clones. i promise. >> do you buy that? who is the real conservative out of those two. you have to go through one or both of them to win in iowa. >> well, i think they come from the me mold. they're about the same. they're both on the defensive. they're both explaining themselves. and i even said that last night. why should we have a nominee that's going to spend most of their time explaining themselves and deciding what position they wereon and when. i think that's too much on the defensive. and i think, if you're
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coistent, it speaks for itself. you know,body ev challenges me to at. but i don't have to brag about it, either. because everybody knows exactly what i'm going to do. exactly what i've done for 30 years. so it goes without speaking about it. >well, but i just want to be clear on this point, you consider bot gingrich and romney unacceptable as consiste conservatives? >> well, i would say they're not consistent. i think they more or less admitted that. they've chang their positions. it's t that they're in denial. it's just that they admit that they were onne side of the position here, and on the other side of a position on another time. i think that's -- i think pretty clearly understood. it's just that that's not considered, you ow, a litmus test. it seems like people are rather tolerant -- ten years ago but he doe't do it now. >> congressman, you've been tough up in iowa. you do go afte gingrich, flip-flopping, being all over the place on issues, like
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climate change, when he cut an ad with nancy pelosi. you never specifically go after romney. are you more comfortable with romney as the standard bearer of the party should it come t that, should you not beatim? >> well, i think the philosophies are pretty close. but you kno i think the answer that was given last night, i think romney comes back a little more diplomatic. i think that he handles himself a little differently than newt. and newt, you know, newt's living up to this. matter of fact, he's addressed the subject. he is a very detmined peon, and can rub people the wrong way. i don't think he's sayg that he doesn't do that. i think mitt has a little bit of a more diplomatic tone to his voice. >> well, who represents more change? who represents change in the way that republican primary voters want? >> you mean out of the -- >> out of those two. >> well, but start withish- >> i don't know, you have to go through.
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>> no, i don't think either one of them represents change. matterof fact, i've always categorized all my opponents as fitting into one category. they more or less support the status quo. i mean, how many of them are challenging the foreign policy? ow many challenge, you know, the monetary system? how many people challenge the welfare system? how many want real cuts? nobody else is offering real cuts, you ow, i spending. and i offer real cuts. so i would say they're all a variation of defending the status quo. and i think that's why there's so much frustration, and people are hopping around, they're looking for somebody, and i think,uite frankly, that might be the reason we're going up in the polls, and you know, we ill have a few weeks to go, so we'll ve to waitnd see what happens. >> let me ask you about foreign policy, since you raised it. last night it was gingrich, who first made news on saturday b saying t palestinians were, in his words an inventive people, and he defded that lastight saying that there are major elements of the palestinian leadership that are committed to israel's destruction, and he added this -- >> somebody oughto have the courage to te the truth.
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these people are terrorists. they teach teorismn their schools. theyave textbooks that sayf there are 13 jews and 9 jews are killed, how many jews are lef we pay for those textbooks through our aid money. it's fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying out the middle east. >> is that courage? is that speaking the truth? or is that pandering to evangelical christians in iowa? >> well, well, i think it's -- it was purely a political statement. but i think it demonstrates my point and makes my position very clear. hat, there all the harm done is not only on one side, and that fight has been going on in that part of the world f a long time. and i remember so clearly what ronald reagan said when he got messed up in lebanon. he said that if he had been more neutral, and folwed neutrality and had not put thearines in there, ose marines would still be alive. in other words, he's saying the politics of tt region, these were his words, the politicsre irrational. the irrationity of the
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politics there. and that's why i think it's such a wise thing to do, to follow our founders, and not pretend the know who the bad ppl are, and who's saying the bad things, and one side perfectlre, and the other side are only theterrorists. a lot of people die over there. a lot of people die on both sides. and i don't think we have the wisdom to sort atout, nor do we have the authority to sort that out, and so put our will. i think that region should be determined by the individuals there. i don' think that israel should ever sacrife their sovereignty to us, i think that's what they have done. they can't do much. they can't exexend their border or design their peace treaties without getting permission from us. and i think we should defend the sovereignty of israel, and not confuse things and ma things worse by demagoguing it,and saying exactly who is to blame and who isn't to blame. >> beforeou go, congressman, let me ask you about the strength of your following. mi romney acknowledged it last night, saying everywhere he goes
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in iowa, yur supporters are there. and he respects that. if you don't prevail in iowa, or don't prevail to get the nomination, will you endorse? >> oh, i have no idea. i'll wait and see about that. it depes on howthe platform works out, and you know, i was bragging a little bit last night when they asked us about our home aff there and i was very pleased that some of them are starting to tuesday a ttle bit of the language i used. we'llait and see howhings go. and are willing to change their potions and have in the past, so i'll keep my fingers crossed and see what happens. but my main goal is to ok to january 3rd and january 10th, and we' doing well, so it's premature for me to be talking about what i'm going to do after january 10th until we find out exactly how this plays out. >> you he endorsed in the past the libertarian candidate, as somebody outside the twparty system. are you ruling out a third-party run at any point? >> i have no plans to do that. >> are you ruling it out?
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>> i -- i'm not going to le anything out, or anything in. i don't talk in absolutes, and i stated in my position that we really have a very nice campaign going on, and people are recognizing this, and we have thousands of young people now that are cpaigni for us, and the turnouts are just fantastic. f me the distractions -- >> well, to the point are you open to a third party run? >> i am not even thinking about it. >> but you won't rule it out complete ply? >> because i have enough on my plate riht now. i mean, we have a lot of campaigning to do, and we're gointo be very, very busy in these next couple weeks. that is what i'm concentrating o and we're going to see what happens. >> all right, congressman paul, will be following the debate very closely. thank you so much. >> you're welcom >> joining me now, assistt majority leader in the senate dick durbin, the democrat of illinois. also lindsey grahm, republican of south carolina. welcomeo you both. i want to debate income equality
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but senor graham i want to startith you and talk politics. it's a big focus. you saw that dete last night in iowa, and in your state, as i just referenced a moment ago, is newt gingrich going away in south carolina, over his rivals romney and ron paul. is he for real? >> yeah i think if the election were held tomorrow he'd win south rolina, and i s bits and pieces of the debate. it's clear to me that newt gingrich has established himself as the republican front-runner, and, yeah, he's for real. >> is he different? you said that you talked to him, you feel like he's gidifferent than he was. what's changed? >> well, you know, las night he took a lot of the shots. i thought he handled it all well. he was very calm. you know, he's been out of government for a long time. he's matured as a person. he's reattached himself his face. he seemed to be -- wead a good conveation about energy policy, talked about the pat. you know the coup started in my office so obviousle guy doesn't hold grudges. i think he's leveled out as a
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person. and all of us, evencritics say newt is a guy that can really hold a room, a very smart fell and he and presidentlinton did some good things together, welfare reform, balancing the budget, s you know, during his time a lot of good things go done, and he had troubles, too. >> quickly before i move on, you led the coup against him as speaker back in the house is what you're referring to. would yoendorse him for president now? >> i'm not going to endorse him. but i think he could beat president obama, and i would certainly support him as president if he won the nomination. think we're in a good spot to win this election. it is our ection to se. >> will you endorse somebody else -- >> policies. >> will you endorse anyone? >> i dn't know, david. i don't think so. i really had a real, close relationship with senator cain. i don't have that with the people in the field. i like them all. i hopeon paul does well. and if he doesn't make it, i hope he'll help us as a party defeat president obama, because we can't stand four more years of the policies that are in place now.
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so i hope ron paul will help us as a party defeat president obama. >> aspposed to you running as a third party candidate. >> yeah, you know, but ron paul in the party is real,e has a lot ofenthusiasm. we're better tether. we have a common political desire, to e obama's policies. not four more years of things that are clearly hurting the country. and you're not going to be better off with a second term obama. clearly you're not betterff and i don't see any hope of people being better off. and i hope r paul will help us make that case. >> senator durbin, let me turn to you. again, income equality is a big debate. before we get to the broader points, let's talk abo the news. that is the payroll tax cut exten. this isomething that republicans, democrats are debating now. is this going to happen? will it get extended? >> can tell you, did, it's the highest priority of the president and the democrats in congress. we're talking about a payroll tax cut for almost 0 million americans.
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what it comes down to for the averag illinoisan is about $1000 a year. if congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut, it's a new tax, an added tax nxt year for average working people. what the president said in nsas really applies to this debate. this is a make or break moment for the middle class. and to this point, the republicans haveconsistently said they will refuse to increase the taxes on the wealthiest people in america one penny, if that's what it takes to make sure that working families get payroll tax cut. it is a clear, defining oment, a contrast between the parties, that the president made clear, ande have said, for example, we will exempt the first million dollars in income for the wealthiest in america and just put a sur tax on the second million dollars they earn each year and the republicans said no. they refuse to allow it -- >> finish your poin senator. >> they ruse to allow us to use this millionaire's surtax
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whether it's to save the jobs of teachers and firefighte and policemen, or invest in america, in infrastructure, and what they've said is, these are the job creators. in fact, what we know now is that among small business people in america about 1% make money at thislevel, $1.5 million a year. in order to protect that 1% of small business owrs -- >> okay. >> -- and to protect the 1% of taxpayers they are turning down a tax cut for working families. >> senator graham, republicans in the house are singfyou want this tax cut extension you've got to do more. and they talk about the keystone pipeline. let's show the map of this. this would be an oil pipeline that would be extended. it goes from alberta all the way dodo south and the dotted portion would be the extension. environmentalists are opposed to it, the administraon says no, we'll take this up after the election. does this have to be part of the equation to ultimately get a payroll tax cut extension? >> i think the house's package that does extend the payroll tax cuts h a lot of things i would
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support like the pipeline, and other regulatory reform. but at e en of the day the payroll tax will get extended as it is now. it won't g expanded. it will getextended. and we'll find a way to pay for it in a bipartisan fashion, this id of taxing one group to pay for a x cut for another isnot going to fail. the pipeline's probably not going tofail. and it is important that we xtend the tax cuthrough next year. but it's even more important we come up with sustainable policies that will rn america around. and this idea, what is a fair share, david? tel me, pica nuer. tell me. ell the american people, what should the top income earners, what should the top rate be? pick a number and tell me wt's fair. >> let me talk in that vein about the middle class. the fight for the middle class, as the president talked about this week. and so people understand, here are some quick facts that really go to this question of income inequality and the fight forthe middle class. on earnings and sings, incomes
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have stagnated while wealthy incomes have skyrocketed. on housing, equities in home values, half of 2006 levels. retirement, a quarter say they will ne work until at least age 80 to liveomfotably in retirement. this is a point t president made this week in kansas. watch. >> but for most amecans, the basic bargain thatade this country great has eroded. long bore the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. fewernd fewerfhe folks who contributed to the success our economy actually benefited from that success. >> and yet wealthy americans, he went on to say, have gone on to do better. senator graham, is the issue, as the president argued, income inequality? or is it something more fundamental? or is it national decline? >> i think the issue is that there's failure -- he's got a failed presidency,nd he didn't talk about the thingshe h
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done to make america a stronger, better place, in a bipartisan fashion. ronald reagan sat down wi tip o'neill to solve problems. bill cnton sat down wit newt gingrich to balance the budget and end welfare as we know it. this whole speech is about pitting one group of americans against the other. and his policies are t biggest threat to the hard-working americans. yore a union guy, the pipeline would be good for you because it would create 20,000 jobs. the nlrb in hands of this administration, almost cost a fality in south carolina that would have cost 10,000 hard-working soutcarolinians eir jobs because of union politics. the environmental policies of this administration make it very hard to create a job. the speech, the speech wasn't about his successes. it's abou hard-working americans in class warfare. and i ask the question again, mr. president, what is a fair share? pick a number. tell me how much you want to take in taxes at the t ra.
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pick a number a let's see if it works. >> senator durbin? it's all politi. >> what is the nunuer? >> david, let me just say that the president has tried for three straight years to work directly with the republicans to solve the problems of this country. even this year, on three dierent occasions, he has met with speaker boehner, and with the republican leader kantor to try to work on a deficit and eachimehey walked out on him. this week, ine united states -- this last week in the ited states senate, as an illustration on two separate occasions, republicans use the libuster, something that said they wouldn't do except under extraordinary circumstances, to stop appointment of a woman -- a unanimously well-qualified woman to the u.s. district court in the district of columbia, and to stop the appointment of former ohio attorney geral richard cordray to head the consumer financial protection bureau. for the president now to say, listen, you have a clear oice, the republans will not cooperate to work to methis economy forward, we ve got to
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focus on what the futureill be. what the republicans offer us is the same formul that brought us in to this recession. cut taxes onhe wealthy. and cut that government oversight to make sure we have clean drinking water, air we can breathe, and make sure that wall street doesn't run wasngton, stead of the other way around. >> 20 sends, senator graham, do republicans have a hard time talking about inequality in the country when it comes to incomes and comes to the economy? >> well, that's what keeps america equal to grow the economy. the obama policies have been a miserable failure. they had the congress, a mocratic majority, they incased spending by 24%. so this consumer bureau that they want to pass is under the federal reserve, no appropriation oversight, no board, it is something out of a stalinist era. t reason republicans don't want to vote for it is we wa a board, not one person, making all the regulatory decisions, and ere's no versight under this person. it's just a check from the
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federal reserve, we want it under the congress s we can oversee the overseer. here's policies of why hard-working americans are going to lose now, and they will never get better in the second term of obama administration. that's why we're going to win as republicans. >> finally, senator durbin, as you look at the president's prospects, you look at the status of his approval ring, how much of a challenge does he face for re-election? >> letme tell you what the president's done, particularly in the last few months, where he has stepped up with a jbs program, supported across the board by the american people, and said the republicans, either join me in moving arica forward and creating jobs, or face the next election for a referendum on whether we're going to return to the failed republican economic policies, i think that is a clear contrast. what he said in kansas brought us back down to basics. this is a make or break moment for the middle clss in america. >> all right. we're going to leave it there. thanks to both of you. >> david, if i could just add, david the president introduced a budget that got no votes. he's rejected his own fiscal
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commission. he gave aspeech that had nothing to do with turning around the economy. he won't tell us what a fair share is. >> the debate will -- >> this is all politics. >> the debate will continue. thk you both very much. coming up, where does the gop race now stand? iowa's republican governor terry branstad is going to join our political rounable. plus what happeed to mitt roey, who was once seen as the inevitable nominee? alex castellanos, one of his former advisers, says romneyas yet to show chacter and what exactly he's willing to fight for. he's going toescribe our political roundtable, as well along with nbc's ted koppel, lisa myers and chuck todd. what do you got? restrained driver in a motor vehicle. sir, can you hear me? two, three. just hold the bag. we need a portable x-ray, please! [ nurse ] i'm a nurse. i believe in the power of science and medicine.
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coming up, how does america remember newt gingrich? and will the answer determine his prospects for the white house? joining me the roundtable, iowa governor terry branstad in iowa. alex caellanos, nbc's ted
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we are back with our political roundtable. joining me, nbc's senior investigative correspondent lisa myers. she knows a thing or two about newt gingrich, having covered him all those ars on capitol hill. chf white house correspondent and political director for nbc news,huck todd. republican strategistalex castellanos. and special correspondent for nbc's rock center news magine, ted koppel. what a pleasure to be able to say, c's ted koppel. thanks, ted, for being here. and live from des moines, iowa, is iowa's republican governor terry branstad. he was a popular guy last night. if you're running for the president, you want to get th important nod from the governor of the stat governor, good to have you. we'll be wh you in just a moment. chuctodd, this is how it looks in florida and south carolina, as i referenced, we'll put them
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up on the screen. south carolina first, it is ginh, going away. lindsey graham said he'd win the electio in south carolina if it were to today. d in frida, it's gingrich, going away. major moment, of course, the polling, the status of the rac and what happened last night in iowa. here was the moment between romney and gingrich. watch. >> look, the only reason he didn't become a career politician is he lost to teddy ennedy in 1994. >> now, wait a second. now wait a second. the idea that if i'd haveeaten ted knedy i could he been a areer politician. that's probably true. if i wou have been able to get in the nfl,ike i hoped when i was a id, why i'd have been football star in my life, too. but i -- but i -- i spent my life in the privte sector. losing to tey kennedy was probab the bst thing i uld have do f prepa me for the job i'm seeking, because it put me back in the private seor. >> chuck todd, where are we?
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>> these are a couple venerable debaters. i think we've seen it. these are the final two. one-on-one debates, or even three with ron paul, shows that he can give as well as he can take, it's going to be an interesting, long primary campaign if it, indeed, goes long. but i'll tell you, obviously, what we're seeing in the polls, it's instructive that newt gingrich broughtp 1994. that is his key strengthnd it is romney's key issue. what was newt gingrich doing in october of 1994. he was leading a coervative evolution. that's the one big memory. i had a rmney person tell me that every negative they try to throw at newt they realize you can't just use one because he has that pristine memory in the minds of conservatiti voters. well, he did it. what was mitt romney doing in october of 1994? basically saying, i'm not really a repcan, massachusetts voters, don't you worry. i'm not that conservative. not even sure if i voted for reagan or for bush or who i was for back in the '80s. so it's interesting that newt brings up that moment because i think it's a clear ideological
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contrast. >> lisa myers. >> well, i think clearly governor romney needed to blunt gingrich's moment last night and he didn't accomplish that. this is newt gingrich's wheelhouse. verbal combat. no one is better at it. no one enjoys it more. you know, the key for him is not to appear too mean. not to go totally off message. and he didn't -- neither hapned last night. soery successful evening for him. so you know, unfortunately i think for governor romney, the clip that will be played a lot is himtrying to make the $10,00bet. >> u don say. here was the fight with rick perry over the individual mandate in health care. watch. >> i read your first book, and it said in there that your mandate in massachusetts, which should be the model for the country, and i know it came out of the reprint of the book, but you know, i'm just sayg, you were for indidual mandates, my friend.
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>> you know that, you've raised that before, rick. itas true then. >> is it truenow? >> ric i'll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet? >> i'm not in the betting business. >> oh, okay. >> okay. >> the median income in iowa is less --is only about 50,000. so a $10,000 bet is pretty extraordinary. and we should point out that newt gingrich had a similar moment, not that long ago, when he said he really didn't need to lobby, because he was taking so much money on speeches, charging $60,000 for speech. so both republican candidates have given democrats good material foan ad in the fall. >> governor branstad in iow it is the fight for your state. what mattered about lt night? >> well, i think they performed ery well. the real loser was president ama. because his policies have been a
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disaster. but when you increase the national debt a trillion dollars a ear, amecans don't want to become the nxt greece or italy. we want somebody that's going to get america's spending under control, and we reduce taxes and regulatory burdens, not divide thamerican people by attacking the entrepreurs and the people that end up and create jobs. it's a shame t president of the united states appoints the commission, and then he walks ay from it. had the opportunity last year in the state of the union address to come up with a plan to ruce spending, and put america on the right track, instead he just is playing politics. the president of the united states ought to be better than that. than divide the american people. we need a leader. somebody that's going to put america back on the right track. somebody like ronald reagan, there's nobody that's perfect. >> so who is like m? >> all of these candidates are much better than the present president.
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>> who is like him out there? >> well, i think people like -- first of all, i think each of the candidates had their moments last night an did very well. and people likehe fact that ronald reagan told it likeit was. i was an early rean supporter here in 1976. i'm proud of the leaderip that he provided for this country under the malaise that we were under back under jimmy carter, and we had president that brought america back, and we built our economy, and we need a presidt that has that kind of courage. not somebodthat's going to divide the american pople one agait the other. wneed to reduce the tax d regulatory burden. when i was governor before canada, the canadian dollar was wor 65 cents to the american dollar. nd we were able to bring canadian companies here. now the canadian dollar -- >> let me get -- >> -- their financial system is stronger. >> good points, all. i will say that i think govern romney lost a lot mo than 10,000 bucks last night and newt gingrich won a lot.
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why hasn't mitt romney bumped above 25% in these polls? i think we saw it last night. voters think this country is in hugetrouble, republicans do, and ty want somebod to bring big change. and mitt romney last night said he was the cautious guy. that's how he's been running his campaign all year. he ben saying i'm not going to risk any polical capital. i'm going to let the other guys lose. what that does is build a market lled resentful dependency. it's like you're the cable company or the power company. you have no choice but to y from us. you know, take it or leave it. and voters -- >> you want to be nice to cable companies. >> but the problem is, that that makes voters want to tell mitt romney, oh, yeah, we'll teach you a lesn. last night he gave them an opportunity to do that with an elitist comment. newt gingrich is runnig, i think, he's running as the strong guy, not the cautious guy. at means he's going to -- he can get out there and say, look, your house is burning down, i'm
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a fireman. you don't care where i slept last night or what i did. let me put out the fire. you need me on that wall. >> ted koppel, what did you see? >> i hope to ioke the great lilytomlin, david, who once said no matter how cynical i get, i can ver keep u as i watch newt ggrich, and he is doing extraordinarily well, and i think the consensus this morni seems to be that if there was a winner last night it had to be newt gingrich, the fact that he has been able to overco all that he seems to be overcoming leaves me absolutely breathless. >> and yet you' heard senator graham say, he appears to be a different guy in someways. you hear, you see the difference in him? >> well, i see t discipline in him, and indeed one of the big rants against gingrich is he gets carried up sometimes and loses that discipli last night he was discipline except for thatittlwink he throws athe audience every once in awhile.
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>> some it is not newt gingrich material. he's a 68-year-old grandfathe we hear that all the time. but some of it is, does the country nt somebody who's a little imaginativend unpredictable, and will go outside of the box, because the proble are so big and demand more than incremental change. >> david, governor branstad -- it sounds like governor branstad is saying he likes that, i don't want to put words in your mouth, yo like somebody who is telling it like it is. has mitt romney en too cautious in iowa? >> well, you've g to give ron paul credit for having plan that's going to get rid of tis ge deficit. he's the one that's been very consistent on that. i think that's onof the reasons he's doing well. the iowa poll shows number one iss is get america spending under control. i, like many other governors, are cutting spending, and focusing on reduci taxes and regulations, to bring jobs and revitalize our state's onomy. the federal government, with its high federal tax burden, and penalties on business, everything from dodd-frank to
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the rice rule under the epa is damaging our communities, our businesses and preventing us from creatingobs outre in the heartland of america. governor, about mitt romney. has he been too cautious in iowa? >> yes. and i think he's starting to understand that he's going to have to get much more aggressive. he's going to need to spend more time here. he's opened a campaign office. he was in cedarapids the day before yesterday. i understand he's going to be ck campaigning more aggressively. he's s srting to advertise on television. but this is a wide-open race in io the lead has changed hands many times. i think there's still a lot of undecided voters. it could go any way. and really, people are looking for the strongest a best candidate that will defeat barackobama. >> ex chuck, to your point, the best thing about mitt romney is not that he's been a cautious man. the truth about his success is he's been a transformation figure. he transforms the olympics.
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he builds companies. transfmational change in massachusetts. that's the mitt romney i know. this campaign has dinished him by maki him smaller than his great base heal really revea. >> there ishis attempt at real contrast. what i thought was another major moment and it wasn't the debate last night, was the contst romney painted of himself versus gingrich on thisissue of gingrich saying that the palestinians were an invented peop. watch. >> i wi exercise sublime care, stability, i'm not a bomb thrower. rhetorically or literally. >> i think sometimes it is helpful for the president with the crage to tll thetruth, such as with rold reagan who went around his entire national securi apparus to call the soviet union an evil empire. >> the speaker may characterize that as coura but it's also a fact that thas a ver popular thi to say, to all the evangelicalsn wa. so where he say courage, some people see pander. >> he talks about the paltinians.
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you go back 100years. there was no saudi arabia. there was no iraq. there was noordan. as a historian, i think speaker gingrich needs to be a little more accure. >> this is newtonnian. newt gingrich is radioactiv material. if they get to close he could kill every republican on the ballot. the voters look at it and go, wow, what great power. >> mike murphy tweeted toys in your poin put it up on the screen, mitt, meaning romney, msed an opportunityto clobber newt as reckless college professor. politics is not a cture hall. that's the argument he's making is, look, you're president of the united states. you talk like that. you may notursue the two-state solution, but you're going to roil a region that's alrdy going through revolutionary chnge. >> david, it's not only tha think about this, newt gingrich was a taking a pro-israeli position than any recent israeli prime minister. there's hardly any leader in israel tay who would allow himself or herself with the
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position that gingrich took last night. b i'll tellyo this, republican primary voters said the same argument was made at re in '79 and '80 both by republicans running against him and democrats, ended up running against reagan, you can't say these things, you can't say these things. well, you know, th other part of that clip is when he went out there and called mitt romney timid. here's mitt romney using sobrietand also newgingrich comes back not only that, i'm sorry i confused -- >> churchill. >> but i think what's instructive is the peopleho know newt ngrich best, the people who served with him, do not come down where lindsey graham did this morning. th are quite-- and in all my years covering republican politi i have never heard republicans who knew the potential nomine well speak this poly of someone. and yes, he accomplish great things as speaker. but they also remember the chaos, the polarization, the
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cendiary remarks. d at the end of four years, they believe he had damaged repuican brand, and that he had damaged the conservative cause. in that last election, the people, replican s believed that gingrich had become so radioactive he cost them ten points. >> let me get a break in here. we'll continue with more of these major moments. also the issue of marriage came up at the debate. more with our roundtable right after this. [ drew ] what's the latest in eye couture? new intense shadowblast from covergirl. the news? it's eye shadow with primer built-in. fadeproof, waterproof, totally ignore-proof! oh yes! new intense shadowblast from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl.
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we're back at the roundtable. another major moment this week. it happened in t debate. does marriage matter. this was the response. >> i've always kind of been of the opinion that if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner. so, i think that issue of fidelity is important. >> i think people have to render judgment. in my case, i said up front openly, i've made mistakes at times. i've had to go to god for forginess. i've had to seek reconciliation. but i'm ao a 68-year-old grandth, and i think people have to measure who i am now and whether i'm a person they can trust. >> i thought it was perhaps his best moment of the dete. because it was a potottially very difficult momt for him. he acknowledged errors. and i think that's also been his message behind the scenes, not on marriage issues, but that he
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would be a more reliable nservive anthat he is not aundisciplined and erratic as he was during the four years as speaker. i think it's selling with come conservatives. >> i'm fascinated that he used his age there and using grandfather. almost sayg i'm 68, 'm not doing that again. almost saying, i'm not going to do that again. i'm not that anymore. i may have been, and it's not just -- it's rare that you e somebody emphasize, he's one of the older presidential candidates we've had that has a real shott the presidency. so it's interesting that he used his age. >> very effective. i thought this put him, hey i'm on the other side of the divide now. i'm not that old, scary gingrich anymore. there's a cost to it, thoug if he -- he connects newt gingrich with the old, if he makes another unforced error,if he gets reckless again, then that means this isn't true. and he goes right back to being the same old newt gingrich. can he maintain that discipline for three months? >> another major moment is about foreign policy. republins accusing this president of appeasement, and
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also the prospect ofhat happens in iraq, te koppel, you were there reporting for ro center. as u.s. troops pull out, the u.s. presence is still heavy. you talked about that with our ambassador there. watch. >> everyone knows you can't go into the territory but i would assume there is a healthy cia mission he. iould assumehat jsoc may b active in this country, joint special operations. you've got fbi here. you'veot dea here. can you give me sort of a menu of who all fallsnder your contro >> you're actually doi pretty well foruthorized to talk about >> the full interview tomorrow night, o "rock center." your point there, ted, is that we've got a big footprint and a lot could still happen in iraq. >> the point is ron paul was almost right last night. one ofhe overlooked points in the debate. he spoke of the 17,000, he spoke
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about civilian contractors who are still in iraq. we do have 17,000 peop stil in iraq. they're not all civilian contractors, but a greatany of them are. you've got a consulate in basra, a consulate, the woman in basra is less t 0 miles from the iranian border. 1520 americans down there. they are roeted twor three times a week. they are about as vulnerable as any americans have been since 1979 in tehran. and if they were to be attacked, and i'm suggesting that that's not unlikely at all, you're going to see the u.s. military come back in. because while the ambassador said, no, no, no, we're goingo rely on the iraqis to do the job, there is no wa that the u.s. military is going to wait for the iraqis to save those americans. and they're going to need o. >> we'll come back in just a minute, talk with our remaining moments with ourpanelists.
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just a couple of moments left with our roundtable. look at trend tracker today. it's what we've been talking about. go to the big screen, gingrich fending off attacks, the biggest issue. our trend tracker,omney/perry that $10,000 bet, and paul attacks gingrich as well. is our lead guest here this morning. i'll do the take away bite in just a moment. govern branstad, speaking about ron paul, an interesting fact that came out this wee he has got the most positive sentiment out there on twitter at 55%, only 15% negativ and it's almost st the reverse when it comes to president obama. real quick, how much of a shot does ron paul have to be an upset winner there? >> well, he's got the most bumper stickers. he's got the most yard signs.
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he's got the most enthusiasm. but, i don't know that you can translate that into a victory. because remember, the caucuses are january 3rd. a lot of the college students will be on their christmas break. so, he definitely has a following out he. and i could tellou, there are a lot of young people that are really disappointed with obama. he promised to be somebody that would bring america together, and his campaign is just the opposite. tear people apart, att and his campaign is just the opposite. tear people apart, attack people. we need a leader that's going to bring people together. ron paul's been a consistent conservative. you are to give him credit. i have concerns about his foreign policy. >> chuck todd i won't play the sound bite. but senator lindsey graham, if the election were held tomorrow, newt gingrich would win in south carolina. >> here's why a majority of south carolina republican voters believe newt gingrich is a conservative. a majority believe mitt romney
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is a moderate. you look at the polling, it would be an upset if mitt romney would win this primary. a majority of voters view him as a moderate. moderates don't win republican primaries these days. >> great conversation. thanks to all of you this morning. i'll be monitoring the facebook debate on "meet the press" january 8th live from new hampshire. join our facebook page at facebook.com/meetthepress. and watch our press pass on our blog. this week i poke to a group americans elect about their efforts to revolutionize the way we nominate presidential candidates by using the power of the internet. that's on our blog presspass@msnbc.com. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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